Friday, April 26, 2013

Exciting dates - trying new things

At  our wedding (which was almost a year ago now – my goodness WHERE does the time go), we asked people to answer questions in our guestbook instead of sign it. They were questions like: What should we do to keep the fire burning? Where should we go for our first anniversary? What date should we go on? Etc.
Admittedly, I haven’t looked at that guestbook since our wedding, but we have definitely taken the “date night” suggestions seriously. We both love trying new things and make a definite effort to keep life interesting. The evidence may be in our recent super-packed super-fun date-nights the past few weeks.
Bowling at Bass Pro – This is one that we’ve been wanting to try since the store opened in Altoona.  I toured the shop when it opened in 2009 and thought the bowling area looked fun. Every time we drove by on our way to Iowa City we would say, “We really need to go bowling there.” Finally, I just planned a date with my step-brother (the outdoor enthusiast) and his wife so we could finally cross it off our list. I didn’t take any pictures from said date (Fail), but here is what it looks like. I just loved that underwater feeling the alley gave. It was a bit pricey (which I was told beforehand), but we were glad we did it and we had fun.

Painting class
This one was a surprise for Ryan. I knew these “Social Art” events existed in Des Moines, and I kept that a secret from him so that I could surprise him with it some night. Social Art is basically regular folks getting together and painting – simple as that. The teacher makes it easy for everyone to do and some mix a little BYOB in.
We both love art, so this was a no-brainer. In Europe, it seemed like all we ever did was explore the beautiful art – like the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam. We love Van Gogh and have a print of Starry Night in our blue bedroom. SO, what a great idea to PAINT it? I for one, loved it. I was really surprised how everyone’s turned out so completely different even though we were essentially painting the same thing. It was pretty cool to watch how everyone’s turned out. One guy used pink and red tones and it looked like a volcano scene. We used El Arte Uncorked for this event (and the Groupon helped), if you’re interested in doing it yourself.

Golf range – THIS is one that’s in the books. It’s been unseasonably cold here in Iowa, so we haven’t had the itch to do this one. Soon, we will go across the street to the golf range by our house so I can start working on one of my goals for this year.
I always tried to do fun and new things when I was single as well, so don’t you just think this is about coupley nights. On my own, I’ve gone grape picking at Summerset Winery in Indianola. When I was a reporter for the Des Moines Register, I explored something new every day – arm wrestling competitions, golf outings, fairs, markets, church concerts, doggie dates– you name it. Do you do anything fun to spice up life?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Resolutions? Nope. Goals

I’ve never made a new year’s resolution. I was never passionate enough about a year-long change to make one. If I make goals, they are to be met in an attainable time-frame, and not confined to a specific time. If I make a lifestyle change, it’s for the better – not just for a year. Make sense? Ok, moving on...
This year, however, I did try something along those lines. I made a list of things I wanted to do before the end of the year. Some are goals, some are bucket-list items, and some are simply “to do” items that if I put on a list they were more likely to get done. After I made the list, I realized there were 12 items, one for each month. Convenient.
While these items don’t completely fit into the box of being completed in a specific month, it’s slowly working out that way. It’s April, and I have four goals completed. I’m currently working on two that should both be completed in May and June. Two others are planned for July and August. Brilliant! I make sure I’m always working on one or two items on the list at a time. They are panning out themselves. It’s quite nice, and proof that I should chill out more.
Since I’m trying to be more open, I’m going to actually share them with you.

::deep breath::

To do:
-Golf. For the first time ever. (This is a bucket-list-type-of-entry). Completed June 17, 2013.
-Pay off student loans (scheduled to happen the end of May. YAY!) Completed May 1, 2013.
-Do a day of RAGBRAI (This bike ride across Iowa in July conveniently goes through Des Moines this year).
-Get to XYZ weight. (Yea, not telling you that, sorrynotsorry)
-Run a 5K in 30 minutes. (Probably my loftiest of the bunch)
-Take Alpha course at church. (We’re signed up for the May-June session)
-Submit pictures to the Iowa State Fair (For August. I’ve done this before, just need to get my butt in gear. Trip to Colorado will help). Completed June 15, 2013.
-Cookbook. I want to make a cookbook of all the recipes I have and use most frequently – in a standard format. (This one stresses me out the most)

-Make a will (Legalzoom made this a breeze)
-Get a new car (THIS goal is one I'd had on the list since I graduated college. Felt great to achieve).
-Buy a life insurance policy (these are all so adult!)
-Renew my passport with married name (easy, but expensive)
-Pay off student loans (Due to a miscalculation, we got this one done a month early)
-Submit pictures to the Iowa State Fair

In general, I feel I got the easiest ones out of the way first. Maybe they just feel easy now that they’re done. I’d like to keep you updated with my progress throughout. Now that I’ve shown them to the world, I feel obligated to complete all of them. This will be especially helpful in the weight-related item. Something tells me I’ll push myself to achieve these before the year is out.

What are YOUR 2013 goals? Do you make and/or keep resolutions? How do you make yourself accountable for those goals? Share, SHARE!!!

Friday, April 5, 2013

My favorite things... of the week

Apparently, this is turning into the blog of me copying everyone. Just trying to find my blog voice, I suppose. I’ve seen this on various blogs – people sharing pictures, links and musings about their favorite things. I mean, who isn’t just waiting with bated breath to hear what things I like? Wait no more, my minions.

Twitter feed: @seinfeldtoday. Hilarious. They are tweets giving synopses of shows if Seinfeld were on today. Some of my favorites are…

“Jerry goes to Easter mass and dinner with his girlfriend. Her whole family looks at him whenever the Jews are mentioned.”

“Kramer and Jackie sue 5-hour-energy drinkfor only working four hours.”

Hilarious. Thank you, @seinfeldtoday.

Song: I’m obsessing over this song, Crown on the Ground by Sleigh Bells. It’s used perfectly in the trailer for The Bling Ring.

Etsy item: I’ve gotten tons of compliments on my snuggly green scarf from this Etsy shop. I’m trying to justify buying the blue one. Easter’s already gone… hmm… our anniversary is May 5… so…

Charity: We Care Solar is something I found randomly this year. It’s unique, has a focused mission, and is doing something pretty awesome if you ask me. Basically, women in Africa are dying during child birth due to the lack of lighting. Yep. Lights. We Care Solar is making solar-paneled light packs to keep in African hospitals for when the lights go out. Providing some light to the world is the least we could do.

Music video: It’s not really new, but I think the music video for Scream and Shout by Will.I.Am., featuring Britney Spears is art.

I realize now that this particular list has no theme or focus. Well… welcome to this blog, I guess. After all, it certainly is the obligatory blog about nothing.

What are some of YOUR favorite things?!?!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Highs and Lows

My friends and I do a weekly email where we exchange our high, low, and looking forward to for the week. I truly look forward to it each week because it makes me slow down and reflect on life – and I get to hear all about what’s up with my girls. It’s so simple, and the best way for us to keep on top of what is going on with each other. I especially love the support they give when I share my lows – something I’m not always comfortable with doing. I force myself to dig deep and really share what moment was the hardest for me that week. I not only get some love back from my friends, but it forces me to review that moment and put it into context. I sit back and take a look at it from a bigger picture perspective and I always tag it with my positive spin. In turn, I get a chance to support my friends in their times of need. Even if it is just virtually, sometimes it’s all we have.
Here’s an example to paint you a picture:
Low: Ryan is gone to a conference for work and I miss him. But, he’ll be back soon and in the meantime it’s giving me some time alone.
A week later… High: Ryan is back!
See what I did there?
Supposedly, 80% of what we worry about never happens. (I’ll put aside the point that I think that number came from no scientific study). So, perhaps sharing our lows, making them positive and working through them with somebody is the hardest thing to really do? Make sure you’re doing that in some way. You’ll be glad you did.
And of course, who doesn’t love sharing their high-points of the week?! Or, what we are looking forward to. Here is my blog-friendly version for the week. While I get the irony, I don’t feel comfortable sharing my lowest of weekly lows to, well, the world. That’s what my friends are for. So you’ll have to settle for this:
High: My peony plant, which I planted two years ago, is sprouting! I’m so excited!
Low: It’s still too cold to really get down and dirty with my garden. I’ve been literally dreaming about
all of the flowers I will plant.

Looking forward to: Ryan and I have tickets to David Sedaris on April 17. He will be doing readings from his new book, Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls. Should be a hoot...
I won’t be doing this each week, I just wanted to share this story. Perhaps you might want to do the same? SO how about it – high, low, looking forward to?
Here are some more pictures… just because!
This fluffy wonder has made my week. Found this on the Twitter page @earth_pics.
Ryan and I dyed eggs for Easter… Breaking Bad style (points to who knows what that means):